Kurdish forces recaptured the Yazidi-majority district of Sinjar, west of Mosul from ISIS on November 13. Confrontations between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will grow increasingly likely as both seek to control Sinjar, while Kurdish control over the mixed-demographic district is already leading to heightened tensions between Yazidis and Sunni Arabs.
Control of Terrain in Iraq
Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and "Popular Mobilization" recaptured the Baiji Oil Refinery on October 21 following operations to recapture Baiji city on October 14. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi then visited Baiji city on October 23, marking the city's full recapture. ISW is thus upgrading Baiji and the Baiji Oil Refinery from Contested to ISF-held locations. PUK Peshmerga have also maintained limited gains in villages in southern Kirkuk near Taza and Daquq as part of anti-ISIS operations that began on September 12.
The Iraq Control of Terrain map depicts the control exerted by armed actors in Iraq over urban and populated areas. “Control” is defined as “an area in which a military actor exerts physical/psychological pressure to assure that individuals or groups within the area respond as directed.” Control also requires a military command to maintain physical influence over a specified area in order to prevent its use by an enemy. The control zones depicted demonstrate where groups in Iraq are capable of repelling enemy forces.
The Iraq Control of Terrain map depicts the control exerted by armed actors in Iraq in populated areas. Control requires a military command to maintain influence over an area in order to prevent its use by an enemy. The control zones depicted demonstrate where groups in Iraq are capable of repelling enemy forces.
Patrick Martin is a Research Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War where he focuses on political and security developments in Iraq. Prior to joining ISW, Patrick worked as an intern at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). He has contributed to ISW’s “Iraq Situation Report” and “Iraq Control of Terrain Map” products.
Jessica Lewis McFate is the Director of Tradecraft and Innovation at the Institute for the Study of War. She joined ISW after eight years of service on Active Duty as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. Her military career includes 34 months deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, where she provided intelligence support to tactical, operational, and theater commands. She has twice been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her impact upon operations.
Kimberly Kagan is the founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War. She is a military historian who has taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Yale, Georgetown, and American University. She is the author of The Eye of Command (2006) and The Surge: a Military History (2009), and editor of The Imperial Moment (2010). Dr.